You Have Permission

We moved from another state into our current rental home after selling our own house. We moved to what is considered a “hot seller’s market.” That means even run-down homes were selling for over 100K over the asking price because of the housing supply versus the demand. We did not want to, nor could we afford to, pay that much for a run-down home, or any home, even after selling our house. As a result, we chose not to buy under duress. Instead, we chose to rent until mortgage rates and housing prices come down. However, trying to find something affordable for our family of five to rent while located in another state also proved difficult. 

The housing prices and shortage meant lots of people were in our same predicament. Many landlords never bothered to call us back after we inquired about a rental, most likely because they had a bevy of local renters to choose from who could instantly fill out the rental application and put down the security deposit in person. It was a very stressful situation for our family. Finally, we traveled the seven hours to our soon-to-be location so we could look at rental possibilities in person. We thought it wise to check them out in person before renting sight unseen. Boy, are we glad we did! One house we saw looked super good on the real estate website, but when we arrived it was completely run down. “I’ll cry every month when I pay rent if we have to pay that astronomical of a price for such a house,” my husband lamented. We were searching in the area for three days with few options. 

Finally, the day we were going to leave, we found our current rental. What a relief! It was much nicer than the rundown home we first saw, and the rent was several hundred dollars cheaper. We had looked all over the county, and this was by far our favorite home. Our current landlord was the first to get back to us and the first to accept our application. We have loved living here. The walks and beautiful forest behind our home are peaceful and refreshing especially after a stressful year. The Lord provided quickly and miraculously within hours of the time frame in which we had to head home. 

However, recently we found out that due to personal issues, the landlord plans on moving back into his home. We have only been here six months! Thankfully, he said we can remain here six more months, if need be, until our lease is up. If we leave earlier, there will be no penalties since he is initiating our move. But I am very sad and frustrated.  It’s hard to move. And now we must start the process all over again in the same kind of market. Renting a home for our size family in the same school district so as to not move the girls severely limits us. I’m not really upset at the landlord; it is his home. The situation, though, is hard for us.  And I cannot understand why the Lord allowed it. I can and do thank God that we have housing. So many do not. I can and do thank God for the time we have had here. And honestly, I keep asking the Lord for the situation to change somehow in our favor, so we do not have to move away. I don’t think this situation would be so hard on us if we had not had years of hard situations. It is just adding one more thing to the pile of difficulties and exhaustions. 

I believe it is good and right to express to the Lord how we truly feel. The Psalmists did. Jesus did. In the Garden of Gethsemane, he asked the Father to take away what he was about to experience (Matthew 26:30). Of course, I’m not saying our situation is exactly like Jesus’s or that of those who must flee their homes in war-torn areas. But it is my current grief. And so, I tell the Lord. I tell trusted others. I lament. I grieve. It is a grief after all. Yet in it, I trust God. I cannot understand why he allows what he allows, but I know God loves me and cares for my family. I can share how I feel with him because I trust him and love him. God is good and desires good for me and you (see Psalm 145). 

I want to encourage you and myself: there is no need to pretend everything is fine when it is not. There is no need to be hard on yourself for grieving because other people have it worse. Other people do. But this is your grief. Share it with the Lord. Share it with trusted others. He can handle it. And remember that somehow, as Psalm 23:6 says, goodness and mercy will chase after us our whole lives. I believe that. I am just waiting to see how it works out in the land of the living and ultimately at the end of all things.

—Written by Marlena Graves. Used by permission from the author.